What does a first memorable kiss, scoring a break-away touchdown and opening to your Higher Self all have in common?
They occurred some time ago, but feel like it was only yesterday. The best weekend of my life, is how I see it now. But, you couldn’t have told me when it was actually manifesting in the ’60s.
I had met what I believed was the love of my life. I was all of 12 years old. Same age as Geraldine McFadden, the gymnast that “flipped over me” upon meeting at what today you would call a “pre-teen” party. Mostly 8th graders, but some older. I may have been the youngest.
After seeing this girl from 2nd and Allegheny streets (blocks and blocks away from my neighborhood in Brewerytown, North Philadelphia), I fell head over heals in love with her. (Well, she went head over heals. Did I mention she was a gymnast that “flipped” for me when I requested an example of her gymnastics?)
We eventually kissed in the darkened cellar where the party made its way. No adults allowed.
Soft “oldies by goodies” played in the background (the Jive Five, Dion and the Belmonts, and of course, “16 Candles” by the Crests).
The night ended too soon. (See Love’s First Kiss Lasts . . . For Ever More) I longed to be with Geraldine who stayed at her girlfriend’s house for the weekend. But, I left for home, which was a half block from the party site — down Stiles Street and around the corner on 31st Street. (Some 40 blocks from where Gerry lived, but could have 40,000 blocks to a kid not used to taking a bus by him self, let alone drive a car.)
Energy created with Geraldine must have inspired something in me the next day, as I played football in Fairmount Park, scoring a touchdown after hurdling an opponent who stood (or actually, lowered himself to the ground to tackle me). He was the only obstacle to the goal line. I feel young every time I recall that exploit and the cheers I got. [See Shining Moment Sends Me Soaring High] Oh, if only Ms. McFadden could have seen me! (Were we using the term “Ms” at that time? Don’t think so.)
Uncertain if my true love would ever be mine, I fell to my knees the next day, praying for her affection. It was on a Sunday. I was scheduled to serve as an altar boy at St. Ludwig’s Catholic Church. Got there early, and knelt upon a padded “kneeler” used mostly for “40-Hour” devotions, a Lenten thing, I believe. Wore a black cassock and a white surplus. Closed my eyes, bent my head and petitioned for Love.
Prayed for Geraldine McFadden’s love. But got something far greater — the Love of God. Feeling so much pain, so much sorrow and an unbearable longing for the young girl, I know now that I had somehow entered another realm. Another consciousness.
The passage of time got lost. My yearning, desire and heart-ache came to an end. And I felt what I can only describe as the Presence of the Almighty. I was at peace. In love and receiving love right then and there. The one I had met at the party lost all relevance. I needed “nothing.” Desired “nothing.” I became “nothing.” The “Nothing” mystics use to speak of their inability to describe their God, their Beloved, their Love.
It was a magical time, that weekend. The most memorable one of my life. The second most memorable time is when I remember that weekend with near total recall. Like . . . right . . . now.